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King George V (1910-1936)
The Summons Comes for Mr Standfast (1) : In John Buchan’s story about the Great War, Richard Hannay must watch as his friend sacrifices his life for the Allies.
The Summons Comes for Mr Standfast
Part one

From ‘Mr Standfast’ by John Buchan

In the Great War, RAF pilot Peter Pienaar endures being shot down, lamed and kept as a prisoner of war with the help of Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. He has been free only a matter of days when despite his injury he steals a plane to take out the Germans’ flying ace Lensch, by ramming him in mid-air.

THEY took Peter from the wreckage with scarcely a scar except his twisted leg. Death had smoothed out some of the age in him, and left his face much as I remembered it long ago in the Mashonaland hills.

In his pocket was his old battered Pilgrim's Progress. It lies before me as I write, and beside it — for I was his only legatee — the little case which came to him weeks later, containing the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a soldier of Britain.*

It was from the Pilgrim's Progress that I read next morning, when in the lee of an apple-orchard Mary and Blenkiron and I stood in the soft spring rain beside his grave.

* Hannay implies that Peter was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

From ‘Mr Standfast’ by John Buchan

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Picture: © Pseudopanax, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain View original
A replica Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, New Zealand.
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By John Buchan
(1875-1940)

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